Martin Hayes and Jamie Thrasivoulu

Martin Hayes and Jamie Thrasivoulu

Martin Hayes is a poet and works in the courier industry. Jamie Thrasivoulu is a lyricist, educator and official poet for Derby F.C.

Pigeon problem
Thursday, 14 February 2019 20:59

Pigeon problem

Published in Poetry

pigeon problem

by Martin Hayes and Jamie Thrasivoulu

I got a letter from the council
inviting me to attend a meeting
in the old youth club
that has now been shut down
and turned into a council office
to talk about the pigeon problem

we get these pigeons you see
around our flats
big groups of them
twenty or thirty strong
hanging out around the estate
and just generally being

when the sun's out
they spreadeagle themselves on the grass
wings out
soaking up the sun
warming their insides
and shitting

some people have tied string along their window sills
to keep them off
but after a while they find a way
and are back, perched on the sill

others have tied bits of tinsel and tinfoil to the railings
of their balconies
to scare them off
but after a while the pigeons learn
that they're only bits of tinsel
and tinfoil
and return
then fly off again

there are a few flats
that chuck bread out of their windows
into the courtyard
and it's great
because all of the other flats wont talk to us anymore
because the pigeon problem
is foremost in their minds

and when the pigeons get to hear
that there is food about
they all, as if one, rise up into the sky
before dive-bombing straight in for the crumbs
landing on each other’s backs
fighting and treading on each other’s heads
the slaps of the flaps of their wings against each other
and their combined cooings of excitement
makes so much noise
that some people have been known
to call the filth

the letter says that pigeons spread germs such
as fleas and lice and that a thing in their "mess"
if it gets in your eyes
can cause blindness
then it goes on
"they are a thoroughly unhygienic race
and should be stamped out
by the denial of scraps
and the continued vigilance of
the residents"

they shouldn’t have closed down the youth club then
where the pigeons used to be able to go
and talk about all of their shit


and true down safe is
what they didn’t realise
is that the pigeons were just hungry
half the time
and pretty angry
the other half
they were pretty sick of being labelled
but you know
how good old society works:
it loves a bloody label
it seems
if it ain’t labelled
then they cannae nah who to blame
that’s why now
you can see them
lapping up sick and quite enjoying it
but it’s not their fault
what the feck else are the pigeons meant to do?
sit indoors playing their PS4’s?
attached to iPads
swigging down right-wing posts?
calling their mum’s munts
cause they’ve got no one else to blame?
they’re too young to know the game
it’s for us old fucks
to show them how the maze works
point to latitudes on the map
how it can open up
if they keep their feathers clean
their beaks
razor sharp like a shark’s tooth
but then what chance have we got?
where can we deliver them too?
how can we show them the truth
when the puppeteers have shut down the youth clubs
and the playgrounds
turned the music industry
into a fucking KFC chicken factory
ripped the souls out of our teachers
bleached the writers white
middle-class don’t know how to fight
they only know how to settle
tie string and tinfoil along their balconies
while down on their knees
sucking the Monster’s cock
turning everything in on itself
so we are all eating each other up
in the blame game
the neoliberal dream game
no spaces for the real game
no spaces
for the pigeons to grow up in

we’re being socially cleansed
housing estates with 2.4 children in every flat
and a nice green hedge
the turf where they once belted balls
is now organic veg
fresh faced urchins peek through gaps
they’ve got nowt
but they’re glad their mams and dads
ain’t like that
personalised plates on obnoxious 4x4’s
Capitalist consumer vulture whores
who wouldn’t rather be accused of spreading disease
than conform to a pigeonless society?
who the fuck wants that?
no one
unless you’re feeling dead in the water
because you can’t do anything about your daughter
fighting competitive bulimia battles
with Kim and Kylie Jenna
as Jamie Oliver
prances around Primrose Hill
cooking up a pill
that’ll stop everyone from feeling ill
but he don’t have to sit in no fucking chicken shop on Edgware Rd
because there ain’t no fucking youth club
he’s got two homes
knocked into one
he don’t have to worry
about the playgrounds being shut
so that luxury flats
can be raised up out of the ground
gleaming under the sun
to show that his lot
have won

this is the pigeon’s ground
our ground
ground that our gnarled feet and fleas
used to stamp on and set us steady
ready to go off and travel the seas
it was our area once
where we were considered eagles
ready to pick up the earth
and move it onwards and up
but now we’re trapped
have to sit in chicken shops
pecking at antibiotic flesh
listening to vaccinated music
but we are still the future
we are still
the messengers
we are still
your pigeons
so take this down from us
and invest in us
give us our fucking spaces back!